Emma De Groot's Winning Putt on the 9th Hole (Playoff Hole). Esther Choe in the background.
ALPG Tour rookie Emma De Groot parred the first play-off hole to defeat American Esther Cho and win the inaugural Ingham Antill Park Country Golf Club Pro-Am today. The 24 year old from Coffs Harbour, playing in just her second Australian event, posted an early round of 5 under par 66 and was soon joined by Choe, the leading money winner on the 2012 Symetra Tour who played from the opposite tee time at 7:10am.
The scores would sit atop the leaderboard all day and despite four players posting 67’s, no afternoon player could match or better, so a sudden death play-off was required to determine the winner. Returning to the par 3 9th hole, Choe bogied after hitting her tee shot through the green and failing to get up and down whilst De Groot made a regulation two putt par to clinch victory.
De Groot has made an impressive start to her ALPG Tour debut with this win following a T3 place at the opening event The Vintage pro-am earlier in the week. Setting a goal to qualify for the Volvik RACV Ladies Masters and ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open fields in February, De Groot was obviously ecstatic with her win. “I played really solid today, hit my irons well and finally made a few putts. I was nervous about my driver on this course but didn’t find any trouble and am now really happy with this win. I set myself a goal of making the major events and this is great start to that campaign.. I now feel as though I am good enough to compete with the leading Aussie girls such as Sarah Kemp and others who have done so well” she said.
De Groot’s progress has been hampered since turning professional in 2011. She spent the latter half of 2012 seeking an answer to an upper back problem and recently had a correct diagnosis which has enabled her to work on the arthritic problem to a point which allows her to swing a golf club without too much discomfort. “The injury prevented me from going to LPGA q-school at the end of the year and that was disappointing. But at least I now know what the problem is and what therapy ie required to keep me playing. “
Joanna Kaltten (France) Karen Lunn (NSW) Tamara Johns (QLD) and Mianne Bagger (Denmark) all fired rounds of 4 under par 67 to share 3rd place. They were one shot clear of European Tour superstar, Swede Caroline Hedwall, England’s Holly Aitchison and Queensland’s Courtney Massey.
Final Results and prizemoney
The ALPG Tour moves to the southern highlands for the Mount Broughton Classic Presented by McGill Transport to be played on Saturday-Sunday.